Women’s Lived Professorial Experiences of Career Advancement in Higher Education: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
This article explores the role of identity in women’s lived experience within their professorial role in higher education. Few studies have attempted to explore the implicit and often invisible barriers women face, from a phenomenological perspective. This study aims to highlight the impact on women’s sense of self as recalled throughout their career advancement. This study explores how women in academic professorial roles understand and experience career advancement, with a focus on academia, and the pursuit of professorship grade, in particular. Utilising Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) and Identity Theory (Stryker, 1968) will enable a focus on the perceived factors affecting the intentions on progress. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA; Smith, 2003; Smith, 1996; Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009) was used to inform the approach to and analysis of the qualitative research, which utilised nine semi-structured interviews. Two main ‘super-ordinate’ themes were identified from the analysis: 1) Far fewer at the top 2) The Square Peg fits the round hole, their sub-themes. A proposal of a novel strategic intervention along with future directions, identified implications, and limitations will be later discussed.